Establishing a Lasting Exercise Routine
Have you spent the last few years promising yourself that you’ll get your health and fitness under control, only to fall off the wagon completely after just a few weeks?
If you’re having a hard time establishing a lasting exercise habit, you might be making one of these five mistakes.
Five Reasons You Can’t Form a Lasting Exercise Habit
#1. You Do Exercise That You Don’t Enjoy
If you hate running, why would you tell yourself that you’re going to start running six days a week? There are lots of other, more effective ways to exercise, no matter what your goals are.
Spend some time looking for forms of exercise that you truly enjoy. There are tons of options out there. You’re not limited to spending hours in the gym weightlifting or jogging on the treadmill.
Look for local fitness classes to try out things like Zumba or spinning or yoga. Can’t afford these kinds of classes? Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good workout. Try heading outside for a hike or a bike ride with your family, or play tennis or soccer.
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re moving and challenging yourself. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, you’re going to have a hard time sticking to them when life gets busy or motivation runs low.
#2. You Don’t Make Exercise Convenient
Is your gym miles away from your house? Do you schedule your workouts for the end of the day, when you’re exhausted and have no desire to get up off the couch?
Do yourself a favor and find ways to make exercise more convenient. This might mean choosing a gym that has less equipment but is right next door to your office.
Or, maybe you need to set up a gym at home so you can’t ever use traffic or bad weather as an excuse. A home gym can also serve as extra motivation since you’ll probably have to spend a bit of cash to stock it properly.
If you’re not sure what you need for your home gym, start with a few fitness necessities — dumbbells, resistance bands, hand exercise equipment, a jump rope — so that you don’t miss a workout even on your busiest days.
#3. You Don’t Have Anyone Holding You Accountable
Many people are more inclined to stick with their commitments if they know that someone else is counting on them to show up. Find yourself a gym buddy, or sign up for a group fitness class.
Working out with another person is also more fun. Your morning walks or weekly spin class might seem like less of a drag if you have a friend to do it with.
If you can’t find anybody to be your accountability partner, you can also look into hiring a personal trainer. Not only will you get excellent fitness advice to help you reach your goals faster, but you’ll have two types of accountability: The financial investment of hiring a trainer and the knowledge that someone is expecting you to show up, no matter how tired you are.
#4. You Procrastinate
Do you always tell yourself that you’ll go to the gym after the kids have had dinner? It’s easy to say you’ll workout later after you’ve taken care of other tasks. But, for most people, “later” never actually comes.
Stop putting off your workouts. One of the best ways to quit procrastinating is to consistently schedule your workouts for the same time each day. When you do this, you’re more likely to treat them like any other commitment.
#5. You Don’t Know How to Measure Progress
It’s easy to give up on your workouts when you don’t see pounds coming off right away. Remember, there are lots of other ways to track your progress besides obsessing over the scale.
Some changes to look out for include:
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Better mental clarity
- Having an easier time with everyday tasks (carrying groceries, walking up the stairs, etc.)
The Bottom Line
If you’ve never been able to stick to a workout routine before, take a look at your behavior and see if you’re guilty of any of these five mistakes.